Here are the Tribulus Terrestris facts you need to make an informed decision on this increasingly popular herbal supplement. Tribulus terrestris is a flowering weed that's native to the warm, tropical areas of the world. While it thrives in moist environments, it also grows in arid regions, such as deserts. Called by many names, including yellow vine, puncture vine, and goathead, it is derived from the spiked nuts that fall from the plant after it blooms, spikes which are sharp enough to puncture bicycle tires. Tribulus Terrestris is a perennial plant, except in cooler regions, where it blooms as a summer annual.
While it's considered an invasive species and an annoyance by most gardeners, this unusual plant has a long history of medicinal use in Ayurvedic medicine. Some of its purported benefits include the following.
Increasing the Libido
One of the most important Tribulus terrestris facts is that the plant contains steroidal saponins in its leaves. These saponins have a scientifically proven ability to increase hormone levels in adults. While most studies have shown that these hormone increases are only slight, and that overall hormone levels remain within normal range, proponents of natural medicine swear by this plant's ability to increase the libido. In fact, it has been used for that purpose for decades. Its effect on the body is compared to that of ginseng.
Improving Erectile Dysfunction
Another one of the key Tribulus terrestris facts is that it increases blood flow to the penis, mainly through its ability to increase testosterone levels in the body. Numerous human studies have confirmed this ability, though mainstream researchers claim these studies are not well designed.
Enhancing Sports Performance
The ability to enhance your sports performance is believed to come from the steroid-like properties of the plant. People who take Tribulus terrestris experience improvements in overall exercise endurance, energy, and muscle strength. This has made Tribulus terrestris especially popular as a sports supplement since the 1970s.
Increasing Fertility in Men
The leaves of the plant increase the number and motility of sperm in men due to its ability to increase hormone levels. There are no similar findings of an increase in fertility in women, however.
Improving Cardiovascular Health
Anecdotal evidence from a long history of use in China and India suggests that Tribulus terrestris can reduce the incidence of angina and heart disease. Laboratory studies on rats indicate the plant can also treat high blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, making it a supplement worth trying for anyone with these kinds of concerns.
There are no major side effects associated with using this plant as a dietary supplement. A small number of users report an upset stomach, but this usually clears up when some food is eaten. Because the plant increases hormone levels, pregnant women and people with hormone-related disorders (like breast and prostate cancer) shouldn't take it.
The typical therapeutic dose ranges from 85 to 250 mg daily, divided into three doses throughout the day. Take Tribulus terrestris with meals in order to avoid potential stomach upset.
Where to Buy
Purchase Tribulus terrestris in the supplements section at most health food stores. It's available in both capsule and extract form, so you can even take it if you have trouble swallowing pills. It is also available from a variety of online stores. Some of the most reputable sources are:
- Advance Physician Formulas
- Global Supplements
Important Tribulus Terrestris Facts: Where and How to Grow
Because Tribulus terrestris is a weed, it doesn't require any special care to grow. If you throw the seeds outside, they will probably begin to sprout. While the plant does best in dry, sandy soil in warm climates, it can easily grow in all kinds of environments. Expect it to bloom late in the summer. In most cases, the plant will propagate without any additional help, as the seeds spread on the wind and through animals. In most cases, you won't need to water or tend the plant regularly, since it's very hardy and will acclimate itself to virtually any growing conditions.
- Written by Stephanie Varney.